Concrete roofs are the most common in Mexico. They are usually made with concrete poured over cinder blocks. Styrofoam blocks are getting more popular nowadays because they keep the house cooler. There must always be some slope on the roof or it will leak. Many people have had problems with flat roofs used as miradors (an open patio where one can enjoy the view) and they can require a lot of maintenance. On flat roofs they sometimes use a loseta tile to prevent leaks. Another option is to add a layer of impermilizante--- - a tarlike, waterproof substance. In tropical areas overhangs are recommended to provide protection from the sun and rain.
Palapa roofs are beautiful but not always practical. They can last as long as 15 years but people often start having problems after five years. They should be sprayed to prevent insects and other animals from making a home there. There are two types of palapa roofs: - palapa and palma. The palma roof is woven and is more expensive but also more durable
Tile roofs are beautiful, hold up well, and can keep the house cool. The clay tiles tend to change colors after several years but many people like this effect. Some builders prefer to put a concrete roof under the tiles for durability. If you are using only tiles, the slope must be 4 to 1 for drainage (a 24% pitch), otherwise it will leak.
Lamina roofs (sheets of metal or plastic) are cheap and easy to install. On the downside, they cause the house to be hot in the summer and they fly off in hurricanes. They make a good covering for porches. They can be painted, and there are lamina roofs that are supposed to look like clay tiles, althought it is easy to tell the difference.
Bovida roofs are made from red bricks and are very attractive. They are strong and very traditional in colonial areas.